AU 2009 Learned Lessons – Pfunks tips

Here at KlingStubbins, a group of about 10 or so folks went to AU 2009 with the intent that we would in turn teach the firm what we learned, or the classic “train the trainer” scenario.  Those lessons (2 sessions to start) we need to teach are being prepared (um, should have been done actually….  🙂  ) now.  I had several topics to choose from of course. I settled on these 2 titles (which could either be a single AU class or a mashup of several):

Caffeinated Grading – this is a grading class that Mr. Garrigues has done in the past and i loved it.  But i’m adding in a few tidbits from other 2009 grading classes as well.

Conversations with a Civil Engineer and an Architect – this is a mashup of all those classes that offer solutions to getting information to flow between the Architect and the Civil Engineer.  Generally, we think of this in a one directional manner, but being at an architectural firm, it’s got to be something more.

Those class documents certainly have my attention now. But what i can’t overlook is Mr. Funks tips class.  The content isn’t something that fits in a neat tidy category. Instead, i will sprinkle that knowledge throughout those classes like dashes of pepper, Emeril style.  [Wow, did i just write that?] Some key tips i took away were these:

  • Set Proxygraphics = 0; Yes i knew this. But working in a multi-discipline firm where the dominant CAD app is NOT civil 3d, we’ve generally left it set to 1. As Peter highlighted, this essentially doubles the memory need for this file. Given our inherent network latency issues, i realized i needed to set all files to zero and set only those files referenced by other disciplines to have it equal one.
  • Set LayoutRegenCtrl = 0; We had this set already. But i thought i should mention it for the larger audience.  As Peter described, with today’s hardware there is little gain with this variable set to one. As you might guess, when this is set to one, you also increase the memory footprint of the file since each layout has to be tentatively stored in RAM.
  • Set Max Triangle Length ~ 150′. This is a quick trick to deal with those surface edges. Actually, Mr. Spatz blogged this in detail over at earlier this month. Enough said i suppose, great tip!
  • Smooth Surface – Ever try to recreate those soft, fluffy, landscape architecty, contours?  Well, grading objects is NOT the answer most of the time. It’s simply quicker to digitize the sketch and move on. But the results can be a bit, well, low res.  One way Peter described to increase the perceived “resolution” was to use surface smoothing. Of course, this only works with TIN surfaces, not grid surfaces. To do this, right-click on Edits under Surface Definition. Use the natural neighbor interpolation method and specify both a 5’x5′ grid and the region to apply. You generally don’t want to apply this to an entire surface. But like everything in civil 3d, it all depends on the scope of the project.
  • In the Subscription Advantage Pack is a tool to Divide/Crop surfaces. The intention is to allow you to phase or subdivide large surfaces into smaller chunks in either existing DWGs or creating new DWGs.  You change both the source [parent] surface and the new [child] surface.  However, the edits only flow from parent to child (via rebuild snapshot) but not the other direction.  So if you ever need to change a surface and need those edits to be reflected in both the source and clipped surfaces, those edits need to occur in the parent source surface.

THere were other tips and tricks, but these were the main points that added efficiency for us.  If you notice, the commonality here is reducing the memory footprint thereby reducing the RAM load.  As we move our production machines to 64bit machines (since that is the preferred system now), this may become less of a focal point of efficiency.


About Kevin
Hi… I am a husband, father, brother and neighbor. I am employed as a Civil Engineer and have enjoyed playing the drums for the last 30+ years.

One Response to AU 2009 Learned Lessons – Pfunks tips

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review « Land Development Engineering

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